Seniors, Sports, and Signings

Maura Sheedy ’16 and Reilly Welsh ‘16, Staff Writers

For most seniors, hectic fall schedules include back-to-school festivities, last-minute SATs, and the dreaded college applications. However, some students must approach the college admissions process a bit differently if they happen to have exceptional athletic talent. These students choose go the route of furthering both their academic and athletic careers at their chosen institution.

OC recently held its annual signing day at the end of November. There, two Oakland Catholic students came together with their parents, friends, administration, and athletic directors Mrs. Bielich and Mr. Rudolph to formally commit to their chosen college or university for athletics.

Bella Alampi did not begin playing her sport, lacrosse, until she was in the 8th grade, and had not even considered playing in college until she was first recruited. Bella’s recruiting experience was unique in the fact that she was recruited by Lafayette College, where she will be attending next year, during her sophomore year of high school. Because of her early recruitment, she has been involved in attending numerous camps and clinics with potential coaches, meeting with coaches, going on campus tours, and even taking the SAT as a sophomore.

She explains her ultimate decision in choosing Lafayette, saying, “The coach, Alison Fisher, is one of the best people ever. She was extremely helpful during my recruiting process. On top of that, she is very driven. With her as the coach, I know that Lafayette Women’s Lacrosse will without a doubt be successful. She knows the game very well, and will be a great coach, teacher, and role model. I fell in love with the school as soon as I walked on campus in February of 2014. The campus is incredible, and the fact that I will be receiving an education at a top rated college makes it all the better! Also, being able to play on a division 1 lacrosse team is unreal. It is going to take a lot of hard work, but I am up for the challenge”.

At Lafayette, Bella will major in pre-medicine and looks forward to meeting new people, living independently, and bettering her future through education. She jokes that her school’s close proximity to New York City, only one hour away, is a nice perk as well. Bella does not have any anxiety balancing lacrosse and schoolwork, thanks to the support of her coaches and Lafayette’s commitment to academics, even for athletes.

While playing for the Leopards, she hopes to start as a freshman and work to earn the title of Patriot League Rookie of the Year. After college, Bella intends to focus on Med School and becoming a doctor,

Bella also gave some advice to younger athletes, saying, “Keep playing the sport you love, and play it for yourself, because when your heart is in it, nothing can stop you. Keep good grades, because you never know what schools will recruit you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to coaches. Most of all, base your decision on what school suits you best, aids you in success, and makes you the happiest. Don’t choose a school according to its name”.

 

Peyton Kondis signed to the University of Houston, where she will be swimming for next year. After starting to swim at the age of 6 and beginning her competitive swimming career at 8, she knew by age 9, after her first “big meet”, that she loved the sport and wanted to continue to pursue it. Peyton kept at swimming and evolved into the star swimmer we know today. Recruiting emails began flooding Peyton’s inbox by the fall of her junior year. As her junior year drew to close, she was talking to twenty-three universities. After narrowing it down to five schools (Houston, Georgia Tech, Ohio University, Miami of Ohio, and Rutgers), she began official, paid visits to all, and ended up verbally committing to Houston before officially signing to the school.

When asked why she chose Houston, Peyton answered, “It was a combination of everything—the coaching staff was great, and thus far in the season they have really proven themselves. The team made me feel at home, and even though Houston is far away, it feels relatively close because of them. I think that I will succeed both academically and athletically, being that both will be like a full time job”.

At Houston, Peyton will most likely major in psychology or sociology and looks forward to joining a diverse community at a large school. Peyton is slightly concerned with being able to balance swimming with schoolwork, but since she has dealt with missing school for swimming since middle school, she has managed it before. While swimming in college, she aspires to make and place at NCAA, the most competitive national collegiate swimming level. She admits that getting an Olympics trail cut has been a lifelong goal, although she claims she could never go to the Olympics, since most swimmers know the possibility of that by the age of 13.

Peyton tells younger athletes, “Choose a sport that you have a genuine passion for. I know at least with swimming, it takes a complete dedication of time, which entails at least 2 practices a day, many being over 2 hours long. I would say though that it is important to have a balance of your sport, school, and your personal life. If you let one out weigh the others, there’s a chance that all three will suffer. When being recruited, don’t wait for schools to come to you. There are so many other people in the same boat as you, not every college or university is going to come across your name, even if you’re the perfect fit. Do not be afraid to send emails out to college coaches and take initiative. Most importantly, stay true to yourself. Don’t get caught up in the prestige of a certain university if it doesn’t accommodate you in the best way possible. Find a home away from home”.

Along with Bella and Peyton, some other seniors have decided to continue their athletic careers in college. Summer Conley has since committed to Rhodes College for field hockey. Others, however, have not yet made a final decision. CC Cromer is considering offers for basketball, Taylor Renk for soccer, Olivia Rowe for track, and Courtney Coghill for swimming. Specifically, Courtney has offers from George Washington University, Boston College, The University of Pittsburgh, West Point, and Fordham University. Congratulations and good luck to all of our senior athletes!